November’s crisp autumn skies bring great views of our planetary neighbors. The Moon pairs up with Saturn and Mars in the evenings, and mornings feature eye-catching arrangements with dazzling Venus. Stargazers wanting a challenge can observe a notable opposition by asteroid 3 Juno on the 17th and watch for a few bright Leonid meteors.
This year’s International Observe the Moon Night is on Oct. 20. Look for astronomy clubs and science centers in your area inviting you to view the Moon at their star parties that evening!
Feeling like you missed out on planning a last vacation of summer? Don’t worry—you can still take a late summertime road trip along the Milky Way!
If you’re a fan of meteor showers, August is going to be an exciting month! The Perseid meteor shower is the best of the year, and in 2018, the peak viewing time for the shower is on a dark, moonless night—perfect for spotting meteors.
In July 2018, skywatchers can get an up close view of Mars—even without a telescope! In fact, on July 31, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been in 15 years.
Why is that?
There are millions of pieces of rocky material left over from the formation of our solar system. These rocky chunks are called asteroids, and they can be found orbiting our Sun. Most asteroids are found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. They orbit the Sun in a doughnut-shaped region of space called the asteroid belt.
Mars is Earth’s neighbor in the solar system. NASA’s robotic explorers have visited our neighbor quite a few times. By orbiting, landing and roving on the Red Planet, we’ve learned so much about Martian canyons, volcanoes, rocks and soil. However, we still don’t know exactly what Mars is like on the inside. This information could give scientists some really important clues about how Mars and the rest of our solar system formed.
By Teagan Wall
As far as we know, water is essential for every form of life. It’s a simple molecule, and we know a lot about it. Water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. It boils at 212° Fahrenheit (100° Celsius) and freezes at 32° Fahrenheit (0° Celsius). The Earth’s surface is more than 70 percent covered in water.
High above Earth is a very active part of our upper atmosphere called the ionosphere. The ionosphere gets its name from ions—tiny charged particles that blow around in this layer of the atmosphere.
How did all those ions get there? They were made by energy from the Sun!
Satellites are a part of our everyday life. We use global positioning system (GPS) satellites to help us find directions. Satellite television and telephones bring us entertainment, and they connect people all over the world. Weather satellites help us create forecasts, and if there’s a disaster—such as a hurricane or a large fire—they can help track what’s happening. Then, communication satellites can help us warn people in harm’s way.